By Yasmin Rubayo, Staff Writer
On Wednesday, Nov. 20, Assessment and Outreach Librarian Chantelle Swaren joined with volunteers to answer questions and register voters.
“Moc the Vote” began with a need to get students “engaged in their country. It’s an important right that has been a hard one for everyone to get,” said Swaren.
A resident alien from Canada, Swaren participated in every Canadian election.
Even now that she lives in the U.S., she participates by mail.
“I noticed that college students have strong opinions, and they’re learning about a bunch of different initiatives and government policies,” Swaren said. “They’re starting to see how whoever is in charge enacts legislation that will affect their day-to-day lives.”
It is a concern that students are not engaging as much as they can to affect their own futures, Swaren said.
Two deputies from the Hamilton County Election Commission at “Moc the Vote” came to UTC for the last few National Voter Registration Days.
The date was changed this year to better work around students becoming acclimated to the campus.
“This is the first time we’re doing it in November, but we have done some version at some point in the previous few years,” said Swaren.
Before the current year, these volunteers were affected by the late summer heat.
Even though Chamberlain Field is a central location on campus, being subjected to the elements, in Swaren’s opinion, “was overwhelming for people who were working the registration booth.”
Something needed to change to make everyone more comfortable but equally as aware.
Swaren pointed out that she has noticed something by working in the library.
“It’s a central meeting place, and we’re here for every student, from every major, at every time,” Swaren said. “It makes sense to have it with us because voting is for everyone.”
Swaren acknowledged how much the community has poured into UTC students.
“As with all of the events on campus, particularly those where partners from off campus have come to make available some service or program, or some initiative,” she said, “it’s really important for our student body to participate in that.”
Swaren compared it to a career fair in that “potential employers aren’t going to keep coming if no one comes and talks to them,” she said.
Student engagement with off campus partners drives their own success and keeps supporters coming back.
“I would hope that students would stop by and register to vote, ideally,” she said, “but even if they just come and ask questions, that’s what we’re here for. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a register to vote today.”